Karen Reissmann loses appeal - stays sacked

Submitted by Bruce on 12 December, 2007 - 3:54 Author: Bruce Robinson

Karen Reissmann has lost her appeal against being sacked. No grounds were given and Karen was told she would be informed in writing. This was widely expected as those hearing the appeal were involved in the Mental Health Trust Karen worked for and were implicated in the original decision to sack her.

Karen has said she is now prepared to challenge this decision in the courts, going as far as the European Court of Human Rights. In the meantime, strikers were told to turn up for picket duty as usual tomorrow and some on the picket line chanted ‘All Out! Stay Out!’. The strikers are meeting tomorrow to discuss how to carry on from here.

RALLY: 6pm Tuesday 11th December Piccadilly Gardens

SOCIAL: 7.30pm Thursday 13th December, Chorlton Irish Club, Edge Lane, Chorlton.

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Submitted by AWL on Fri, 14/12/2007 - 14:27

The strikers now plan to return to work, conditional on an agreement about no victimisation, and to press Unison to pursue the issue through political campaigning at a national level.

Motion to UNISON Manchester Community and Mental Health strikers’ meeting Tuesday December 11th
This motion was carried unanimously.
This meeting is appalled at the decision of Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust not to uphold the appeal against the sacking of Karen Reissmann, our branch chair.
We continue to believe that this decision is based on their desire to silence Karen and the other UNISON members active in our campaign against cuts in community mental health teams.

We feel this raises issues of national significance relating to trade union rights, the right of freedom of expression and the defence of the NHS. We need to agree a strategy to take us forward. We believe we need to build upon the successful solidarity day on December 5th supported by UNISON nationally.

We therefore propose that UNSON nationally support:
a)A delegation of senior UNISON national officers, including the general secretary if possible, to see Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Health, this week to demand Karen’s reinstatement.
b)A call on the UNISON national Labour Link to ask that all UNISON sponsored MPs protest personally to Alan Johnson, demanding Karen’s reinstatement.
c)A call on the UNISON national Labour Link to ask that all UNISON sponsored MPs support the early day motion in support of Karen calling for her reinstatement.
d)A public statement from Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary, condemning Karen’s sacking and the decision not to uphold her appeal and demanding her reinstatement.
e)UNISON national health officers raising Karen’s case at the next NHS Staff Council.
f)A national lobby of parliament demanding Karen’s reinstatement on Tuesday February 5th on the 3 month anniversary of Karen’s sacking.
g)The indefinite strike action by community staff in the branch would be suspended (pending a successful negotiation of return to work agreement), allowing for the whole mental health part of the branch to come out on strike for one day on the 5th February to allow us to send coaches of members to the lobby of parliament.
h)A campaign nationally to obtain a new protocol in the public services allowing union representatives in the public sector to have a right of appeal in the face of dismissal to a nationally agreed partnership body made up of union and government representatives.
i)A campaign to make NHS Trust Boards accountable to the local population.
j)Continue to campaign with MPs and councillors in and around Manchester.

We ask regional officials to contact UNISON national officers to agree the above and to report to us at a recall meeting on Thursday whether UNISON nationally is prepared to support a national political strategy as described above. Before Thursday, regional and branch officials and strikers will meet with the Trust management to discuss / negotiate if the strikers were to return to work, what the terms and conditions would be, and will also report on this to the meeting on Thursday. Until that time, at the earliest, there is therefore no decision on the current strike action.

We ask the branch to conduct a ballot of all its members in mental health asking
a)Do you have confidence in the Board of MMHSCT
b)Do you support the call by users groups for the Board to resign?
c)Do you support the call by users groups for a public enquiry (to be set up by the Secretary of State for Health) into the management of this trust?
If no such public enquiry is set up, the branch together with UNISON region to consider setting up its own.

We ask the branch to continue to work with users, carers and others in its campaign against cuts in the Mental Health and Social Care Trust, in particular by expanding the work of the existing campaign committee which is currently organised by Manchester Trades Council.

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